Gaming in the ‘Verse: The Companion

“Perhaps, captain, I can be of help. I once had a client…Mistress Serin of house Sin-Chai, who owns a fairly prominent…well, that’s not important. What is important is that Mistress Serin can provide us with a safe haven and supplies. I’ve arranged to discuss the matter with her over dinner and a massage. Of course, that only happens if you apologize for calling me a whore.”
-Jasmine Asir, Registered Companion

The Companion is a challenging role-playing experience, focusing on diplomacy over action. The Companion is an ambassador, carrying the right credentials to get your crew into places they normally couldn’t go. They are the legitimate face of illegitimate operations.

A word of caution: game masters should be careful on allowing Companions in their games. While this is an iconic role in Firefly and Serenity, the sexual side of the Companion is perhaps best played out by players with a good sense of maturity.

The key thing to remember is that the Companion is not a “space hooker.” Far from it. A Companion chooses her clients. A Companion must be proficient in many forms of entertainment, including dance, music, and storytelling. The Companion is more comparable to a geisha girl than to a simple whore, and carries herself with a sense of dignity. Players should generally choose skills that focus on diplomacy, artistry, and performance over combat-oriented skills.

However, that is not to say that a Companion cannot be involved in combat. While the Companion is more of a support role, there is no reason why a Companion can’t be part of the action as well. Remember that a Companion is not a gunslinger. Leave that for the Hired Gun. Rather, a Companion will have different means of fighting, from martial arts to exotic weapons. Inara used a hair pin that doubled as a dagger, as well as a bolt thrower. Remember that a Companion’s fighting techniques must mirror her own sense of elegance and grace. Combat, to the Companion, is a dance.

INSERT INARA QUOTE (from Shindig, I believe):
Inara: “Attack.” (Mal lunges at her with sword; she sidesteps and swats him on the butt; he grunts in pain) “How did I avoid that?”
Mal: “By being fast like a freak?”

Companions can be either male or female, and have clients of both genders as well. A Companion is completely comfortable in her sexuality. However, sexuality should not be what defines the Companion. Each and every Companion is different, and what they have to offer your crew is much more important than the thing they refuse to offer your crew.

One of the most important things a Companion has to offer is the Companion Registry. The Registry contains a wealth of information, any of which may prove useful someday to your crew. This can give information on individuals, worlds, corporations, politicians, and so forth. A person who crosses a Companion will soon find a black mark in the Registry, prohibiting him from ever hiring a Companion again.

Inara Quote: Inset quote her of Inara threatening to put a black mark in the Companion’s Registry.

When presenting the sexual side of your Companion, it is okay to mention the act of sex in your game, though perhaps you should approach it in what Tracy Hickman refers to as the “boot scene.” In Star Trek, we see Captain Kirk sitting on the bed with a woman pulling his boots on. We all know what happened, but we don’t have to go into graphic detail about it. Keeping that sense of mystery will add to the story.

Companions are also great at getting your crew out of a scrape. When your crew has been detained, that’s the perfect time for a Companion to come in, use her natural charisma, and talk through the situation. Remember, a Companion is subtle in her means, she is not overt.

A Companion can be a challenging role to play, but one that can be a rewarding role-playing experience. Keep flying, and sleep with one eye open.

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